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Welcome to the webbed and wired edition of R&R, aristotle. We’ll be doing the same sort of song and dance here as we do in print: reviewing the latest comics and cartoon-related books and ranting about trends and abuses and unfathomable foolishnesses. Each installment will stay here for about four weeks, with a new one coming in just about every other week or so. If you don’t have the time to ponder every punctuation mark in this deathless prose and merely want to see what might be there that would interest you, we suggest you scroll down the page looking for the bold-face type that heralds the notables who reside herein this week. So here we go with Opus 322 (and a reprise of Opus 321):

 

Opus 322: Reuben Nominees, Rube Goldberg, Doonesbury’s Hiatus, Lester’s Mike Du Jour, George Wunder’s Terry, Oop’s Time Travel Debut, Jonah Hex Stuffed Again & Sins Being Committed in the Name of “Graphic Novel” (March 14, 2014).

 

Opus 321: Editorial Cartoons of January (February 9, 2014).

 

 

 

 

Opus 322 (March 14, 2014). Another big bounding hare-raising ramble through comics both present and past, including the first Watterson cartoon in 18 years and reports on NCS Reuben nominees, the Doonesbury hiatus and a historic comics mural being threatened, taboos being violated in newspaper comics, and Jonah Hex being stuffed AGAIN, and reviews of the comic strip Mike Du Jour and other Mike Lester works, some graphic novels, and a half-dozen books (including Rube Goldberg, George Wunder’s Terry, Alley Oop’s time travel debut and a new “biographical dictionary” of cartoonists, complete with a digression into lore and history), and a long discussion about sins being committed in the name of “graphic novel.” Here’s what’s here, in order, by department—:

 

 

NOUS R US

Reuben Nominees

Jen Sorensen Wins Herblock

Paige Braddock Gets Alumni Award

Bud Plant’s Mail Order Catalogue

Langston Hughes Poem Illustrated

Historic Comics Mural Threatened

 

Disney vs. Stan Lee Media over Spider-Man

Children’s Book Illustrator Takes Over Editoon Gig

Watterson’s First Published Cartoon in 18 Years

 

LAST DITCH OFFENSIVE

College Defunded for Teaching Fun Home

Doonesbury Hiatus

Mike Lester & Mike Du Jour

Kerfuffle at Denver Comic Con

 

RANCID RAVES GALLERY

Harv Cartoons Discussed

 

EDITOONERY

Recent Editorial Cartoons

Stop Do Nothing Congress’s Pay

 

NEWSPAPER COMICS PAGE VIGIL

Luann, Pearls, Get Fuzzy; Sex and Dirty Words

 

Time’s Oscar Game

Beatles 50th

 

BOOK MARQUEE

Feiffer’s Kill My Mother

Barnaby Fraud at Dover

50 Years of Mad’s Dave Berg

Jacky’s Diary

Forbidden Worlds, Volume 3: Nos.9-14

New Yorker Big Book of Cats

 

BOOK REVIEWS

Biographical Sketches of Swann Collection Cartoonists

George Wunder’s Terry and the Pirates

Alley Oop 1939: First Time Travel Adventure

The Art of Rube Goldberg

 

LONG FORM PAGINATED CARTOON STRIPS

Dark Rain: A New Orleans Story

Marble Season

SuperZelda: The Graphic Life of Zelda Fitzgerald

In True Graphic Novels, Pictures Set the Pace

Bohemians: A Graphic History

Slayground: Richard Stark’s Parker

Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story

 

Collectors’ Corniche

George Scarbo’s Comic Zoo

Ike’s Military Highways

 

FUNNYBOOK FAN FARE

Bad Ass No.1

Ms. Marvel No.1

Jonah Hex Stuffed (Again)

 

Onward, The Spreading Punditry

A Love Letter to Big Government

 

PASSIN’ THROUGH

Bhob Steward, 1937 - 2014

 

 

 

Our Motto: It takes all kinds. Live and let live.

Wear glasses if you need ’em.

But it’s hard to live by this axiom in the Age of Tea Baggers,

so we’ve added another motto:.

 

Seven days without comics makes one weak.

(You can’t have too many mottos.)

 

And our customary reminder:  when you get to the $ubscriber/Associate Section (perusal of which is restricted to paid subscribers), don’t forget to activate the “Bathroom Button” by clicking on the “print friendly version” so you can print off a copy of just this installment for reading later, at your leisure while enthroned. Without further adieu, then, here we go—:

 

 

 

NOUS R US

Some of All the News That Gives Us Fits

 

AWARD SEASON

It’s that time of year again: now that the movie industry’s award season has concluded with the Oscar presentations, the parade of awards for cartoonists begins with the nominees for the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben for the “cartoonist of the year.”

            This year, NCS named four finalists, not just three, the usual number. And all four are, as is usual with the Society, syndicated newspaper cartoonists: Hilary Price, Rhymes With Orange; Wiley Miller, Non Sequitur; Stephan Pastis, Pearls Before Swine; and Mark Tatulli, Lio and Heart of the City.

            “I was expecting that about as much as I was expecting to get called up to go play in the NHL,” Price told Michael Cavna at ComicRiffs. “It was a really, really nice surprise.”

            Said Miller: “The initial reactions were the obvious ones of surprise followed by delight. It really did seem to come out of the blue for me, completely unexpected.”

            This is the sixth Reuben nomination for Pastis; the other three are first-time finalists.

            “I am so pleased to be standing shoulder to shoulder with those three,” Price told Cavna. “Or, I guess, Stephan and Wiley are standing shoulder to shoulder, and Mark and I are standing at about nipple height to them.”

            “The best part came when I learned who the other candidates are, four in all this year, which is unusual,” Miller said. “All the others … are very good friends of mine, and I honestly couldn’t be more pleased. I know this sounds like the usual ‘aw shucks’ [baloney], but I’m genuinely happy to be a part of this group, and will be very happy regardless of who takes home the trophy. I really think that we’ve already won in being nominated. The trophy will just be icing on the cake.”

            The winner will be announced May 24 at the NCS Reuben Awards dinner in San Diego. If she wins, Price will be only the second woman to collect the Reuben statuette; Lynn Johnston of For Better or For Worse was the first in 1985. (And she declined her nomination in subsequent years, saying no one should get the Reuben more than once; a position the Society adopted formally a few years later.) Price would also be the only openly gay winner.

            In its prolonged Reubenesque glorification of syndicated comic strip cartoonists—only 18 of the 67 winners have not been syndicated—NCS continues to overlook such stellar figures in cartooning history as Gahan Wilson. And only 5 editorial cartoonists have ever got the nod.

 

 

Herblock Prize. The eleventh Herblock Prize for excellence in editorial cartooning was awarded to Jen Sorensen, the first woman to win. “Winning the Herblock is one of the finest moments in a political cartoonist’s life,” Sorensen told the Washington Post. “Being the first woman to win the prize makes it an extra-special thrill.”

            Sorensen, a former Charlottesville alt-weekly cartoonist who now draws for the Austin Chronicle, was a Herblock finalist in 2012 according to Michael Cavna at his ComicRiffs blog. That year, she told Cavna: “It’s so nice to see our genre of political cartooning acknowledged after so many years in the wilderness.”

            In announcing the winner, the judges issued a statement about Sorensen: “Her strong portfolio addresses issues that were important to Herblock, such as gun control, racism, income inequality, healthcare and sexism. Her style allows her to incorporate information which backs up the arguments she presents. Her art is engaging and her humor is sharp and on target.”

            The Herblock Prize consists of a silver Tiffany trophy and $15,000 after-tax cash award.

            Sorensen is the fourth editoonist to win who is not a full-time staffer on a major daily print newspaper, joining Tom Tomorrow and Matt Bors (the first of the three alternative publication cartoonists to win) and Matt Wuerker, who’s gig is Politico, initially a mostly online newspaper.

            The seeming flood of alties may be explained in part by the presence on each year’s panel of judges of the previous year’s winner. In addition to Tom Tomorrow (aka Dan Perkins), this years judges included editoonist Tony Auth and Sara Duke of the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress. But Sorensen stands amply qualified before any panel of judges.

            In addition to receiving several Alternative Newsweekly awards, last year she won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the National Cartoonist Society’s Award for Best Editorial cartoonist.

            Cavna reports on her career—:

            Raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Sorensen attended the University of Virginia, where she drew a daily comic strip, Li'l Gus, for the campus newspaper, University Journal, from 1994 to 1995, and contributred to the satirical magazine The Yellow Journal.

            Sorensen was soon published in various comic anthologies, including Action Girl and the Big Book of the 70's. She published her own magazine, Slowpoke Comix No.1, in 1998. In 1999, one year after the book’s publication, Slowpoke became a weekly comic strip. As of 2012, Cavna said, the strip goes simply by her own name, though a few alternative weekly papers continue to use the Slowpoke name.

            Sorensen has published three volumes of cartoons: Slowpoke: Café Pompous from 2001, Slowpoke: America Gone Bonkers from 2004 and her latest book, Slowpoke: One Nation Oh My God! published in 2008. Besides her weekly political cartoon, she has produced illustrations for such periodicals as Nickelodeon Magazine, The American Prospect, The Dallas Observer, Women's Review of Books, and Mad Magazine.

            Sorensen has written and illustrated a number of long-form comics, most notably a piece on health care reform commissioned by Kaiser Health News, and a synopsis of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for NPR. She also writes a political weblog on her site. Four of her cartoons are posted on the other side of the $ubscribers Wall.

 

 

AND WHILE WE’RE TOTING UP AWARDS, here’s the University of Tennessee giving one of its alums, Paige Braddock, its Accomplished Alumni Award, conferred upon notable alumni for their success and distinction within their fields. Braddock is executive vice president and creative director of the Charles Schultz Studio. Schulz met Braddock at comics conventions and,  impressed with her work and philosophy, hired her to work with him at his studio in Santa Rosa, California. At Schulz’s death, Braddock was selected to take his place as head of the creative arm of the Studio. The UT press release reports: “Braddock and her team are responsible for the worldwide production and quality control of the Peanuts and Snoopy brands. The enterprise is global, with more than half its sales revenue coming from outside the U.S.”

            Braddock also produces Jane’s World, a comic strip about a young lesbian living in a trailer with her roommate, Ethan. Wikipedia reports that Braddock created Jane's World so that women, particularly lesbians, would have a comic strip character that they could relate to, though it's meant to be accessible to a wider audience of many genders. Braddock devised Jane’s World in 1991 but it wasn’t until March 25, 1998 that the strip appeared on the Web. In 2001 United Media's Comics.com website picked up reprints of Jane's World, making it the first gay-themed work to receive distribution by a national media syndicate. Freshly concocted strips began appearing in 2007.

            These days, we can find the strip online at GoComics.com, where Jane has just learned that her mother knows she’s gay. The pertinent strip is posted on the other side of the $ubscribers Wall.

            In addition to web and newspaper publication, Braddock publishes the strip in a comic book format through her own publication house, Girl Twirl Comics. The trade paperback versions feature covers created by different artists.

 

 

SHORT STOPS

Bud Plant, who shed his mail order business a year or so ago to rely completely upon online ordering, is back with a printed catalog issued through the Postal Service. Presumably you could request to be put on the mailing list: BudsArtBooks.com or 800/2421-6642.

            NPR Books and Code Switch finished Black History Month by asking three comic artists to illustrate something — a person, a poem, a play, a book, a song — that inspired them. Afua Richardson, an award-winning illustrator who's worked for Image, Marvel and DC Comics, chose Langston Hughes' great poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." And you can see the results at npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/02/24/280166355/blood-and-water-illustrating-langston-hughes-rivers . Much as I admire the art, poems cannot be illustrated. Poetry is essentially a specimen of word play. Illustrations may be inspired by poems, but they cannot, by definition, represent them. And if they try, they inevitably fall short, robbing the words of the suggestive power they have when standing alone, unaided.

 

 

HISTORIC COMICS MURAL THREATENED

A New York watering hole called Costello’s was once a storied hangout for various cartoonists and writers of The New Yorker persuasion. But mostly writers. Walt Kelly frequented the place—rather than the Palm, a former speakeasy on Second Avenue the walls of which are decorated with famous cartoon characters, drawn there by their originators. The Palm was for cartoonists; Costello’s was for writers, and Kelly saw himself as chiefly a writer. So did James Thurber, another Costello’s habitue. Kelly never drew on the wall, but Thurber did.

            The story is that Thurber drew his pictures on the wall of the original Costello’s, another speakeasy that opened under the Third Avenue El in 1929, to settle his bar tab during the Depression.

            I had lunch at Costello’s once; Milton Caniff took me there while I was in New York interviewing him for The Biography (see Meanwhile description elsewhere on this site). We sat at a table for two, and nearby there were a couple framed Thurber drawings—on plaster. Caniff explained that this Costello’s (on East 44th Street) was not the original Third Avenue Costello’s, which had closed some years before but reopened at the present location.

            Knowing that they had an art treasure on the wall in Thurber’s scrawls, the management had the decorated sections of the wall at the old place cut out and bodily removed and framed so they could hang them in the new Costello’s, which was now operated by the son of the founder.

            Eager to establish the place’s reputation as an art gallery of original cartoon murals to rival the Palm’s, Tim Costello invited several notable cartoonists to draw their characters on the wall in the dining room beyond the bar in front. The deal, engineered by New York Daily News’s legendary sports cartoonist Bill Gallo, was that if Costello closed the place for 24 hours and offered free drinks and food, Gallo would get “the best known cartoonists in the country to paint the wall.” And so it transpired.

            Caniff drew Steve Canyon. Others drew their characters— Bill Holman (Smokey Stover), Bill Keane (The Family Circus), Paul Fung (Dumb Dora), Bill Kresse (Super Duper) and others of the freelance fraternity— Al Jaffee, f’instance; even Stan Lee.  And so on. A couple months ago, the wall was described by the New York Daily News’ Brian Kates:

            “In the center, with a nicotine patina, is Gallo’s Basement Bertha, brandishing a membership card in the National Society of Cartoonists. Stretched across the top, from the hand of Mad magazine’s Sergio Aragones, is a small army of Mexican banditos, tipping their sombreros to a buxom senorita. At the bottom is a caricature of bartender Fred Percudani, smoking a stogie and riding a bike with two flat tires. In between are what Jan Ramierz, museum director of the New York Historical Society, called ‘a wonderful, wonderful vignette of New York and the world of cartooning.’”

            Mort Walker’s Beetle Bailey is among those pictured on the wall. “I did my part,” Walker explained, “—climbed up a ladder and drew my character. Then I got down and had some drinks, so I don’t remember too much after that. But Costello’s was a wonderful old place.”

            The emphasis is on was.

            Several years after the muralizing, Costello’s closed. But the place re-opened as the Turtle Bay Café. The owner of Turtle Bay Café lost the lease recently, and the joint is going to be torn down to make room for “a trendy eatery.” What will happen to the wall mural was, at the time Kates wrote (end of January), unknown. The Thurber drawings had already disappeared long ago, their whereabouts unknown.

            Said Kates: “The Historical Society is one of several institutions that hope to find a way to preserve the wall for posterity. But removing an old 20x4-foot plaster wall without destroying it requires considerable finesse and potentially a lot of money. And then there’s the problem of what to do with it once it is removed.”

            None of these problems have yet been solved as far as I know.

 

           

NON-ENTITY SUES DISNEY FOR RIGHTS TO SPIDER-MAN

The legal machinations of Stan Lee Media Inc.’s claim to own Spider-Man continue apace. Eriq Gardner at hollywoodreporter.com says: “Predicting a conclusion to SLMI’s drawn-out battle over Spider-Man rights is somewhat of a fool's errand because every time the seemingly down-and-out company gets punched in the stomach by a judge, it figures out a new way to stand up in court again.”

            Gardner continues: “Last September, Disney filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania court against a musical production entitled Broadway: Now & Forever, which included scenes or references from The Producers, Billy Elliot, Wicked, Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins, The Lion King and yes, Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark. American Music Theatre was the defendant, and after being sued, it struck a licensing agreement with SLMI for Spider-Man rights. ... Now there's discussion over whether SLMI is precluded by prior court decisions from asserting rights over Spider-Man. One of the big reasons that SLMI keeps losing is that judges keep deciding that the matter has already been determined by past judges. But SLMI believes that no judge has ever gotten to the merits of its claims of ownership over Stan Lee's creations.”

            Recently, in continuing the fight, Disney gave a Pennsylvania judge two more big reasons why SLMI's claims should be disallowed once and for all.

            First, “Disney says SLMI's claims are time-barred. Its subsidiary Marvel and licensees ‘have continuously and notoriously used the Marvel Characters for more than fifty years,’ says Disney, adding that SLMI knew about this and could have objected when it made a deal with Stan Lee in 1998.

            “Second, Disney says that SLMI is an ‘administratively dissolved corporation that lacks the capacity to license.’ [SLMI is the outfit whose CEO turned out to be a conman of international reach, who subsequently absconded to Australia or some other planet; Stan Lee had long terminated any connection with the operation.—RCH]  Essentially, Disney says SLMI has ceased to function but for litigating since 2002. And Disney adds that under Colorado law, a dissolved corporation can't carry on its business except to ‘wind up and liquidate its business and affairs.’

            “If the Pennsylvania judge accepts the arguments,” Gardner concludes, “it would seemingly be game over for SLMI. But we'd be a fool to say it'll really mean, The End.

 

 

EDITOONS IN OGDEN, UTAH TO LOSE BITE

From Alan Gardner whose DailyCartonist originates in Utah: I’m a bit surly this morning after reading the news that my one-time local paper the Standard Examiner hired a freelance cartoonist to do local cartoons once drawn by the genius cartoonist (and personal friend) Cal Grondahl. The Examiner laid Cal off last month a couple years shy of his retirement [reported in Opus 320]. Now I learn the paper has hired a children’s illustrator, Val Chadwick Bagley (not related to the award-winning Salt Lake Tribune editorial cartoonist Pat Bagley), most noted for his work for The Friend and New Era – children and teen magazines for the Mormon church. Being a decades long contributor to various church publications guarantees Val won’t be touching any issues related to the church’s heavy influence in local politics and culture. In other words, they didn’t hire an editorial cartoonist with any bite, they hired an illustrator who’s pen will stay holstered on a lotof important issues that will affect their readers.

            RCH: One of the traditional (and disdained) roles of editorial cartoonists in the ancient history of newspaper journalism was to illustrate a paper’s verbal editorials, giving the management’s opinions a visual-verbal double whammy. But modern editoonists eschew such mindless errands.

 

 

NEW UNEXPECTED WATTERSON ART

As far as we know, the reclusive Bill Watterson, in hiding since abandoning his insanely popular comic strip Calvin and Hobbes 18 years ago, hasn’t drawn a cartoon since. Until just this month, when he drew a cartoon for the poster about “Stripped,” the documentary that web cartoonist Dave Kellett has co-directed about the changing (perhaps disappearing) newspaper comic strip world.

            The documentary, which is now available on iTunes and will be offered in DVD starting April 2, contains interviews with a score or more cartoonists, including the creators of Garfield, Cathy and Beetle Bailey, who talk about their craft and how it is changing as newspapers have begun to go away. Watterson is also interviewed in the film, but not on camera. As a disembodied voice, he says: "In the right hands, a comic strip attains a beauty and an elegance that really I would put against any other art.”

            Kellett, his chutzpah amped by this success with Watterson, was emboldened enough to ask Watterson if he would draw a picture to promote the film. Apparently, said Kellett’s co-director Fred Schroeder to the New York Times, “Watterson really wanted to express some thoughts about comics and cartooning.”

            Said Watterson: “Aside from supplying a few sentences to the documentary, I’m not involved with the film, so Dave’s request to draw the poster came completely out of the blue. It sounded like fun, and maybe something people wouldn’t expect, so I decided to give it a try.”

            He explained the cartoon’s genesis to the Washington Post: "Given the movie's title and the fact that there are few things funnier than human nudity, the idea popped into my head largely intact," he said. "The film is a big valentine to comics, so I tried to do something really cartoon-y. I had thought of having it colored with off-registered printing dots like newspaper comics, but Dave asked if I'd paint it instead, and I think he made the right call."

            At the New York Times, he continued: “It’s a silly picture that sums up my reaction to the current publishing upheaval, so I had a good time, and I hope it brings the film some attention.”

             To resort to understatement—it undoubtedly will. We’ve posted the drawing on the other side of the $ubscribers Wall.

            Gazing fondly at the cartoon, it’s satisfying to notice that Watterson has lost none of his aptitude for comedic visuals. Not that it’s a surprise: if you draw every day for ten years, as he did while producing Calvin and Hobbes, you acquire a certain skill that does not erode over the years, even if you aren’t drawing every day anymore.

            Also on the far side of the $ubscribers Wall, we’ve posted the original Watterson self-caricature hanging erstwhile on the wall at Universal Press HQ that inspired the picture I posted lately with the Watterson speeches in the Harv’s Hindsight.

           

 

More Unexpected Watterson. Alan Gardner reports that some early Bill Watterson art has surfaced—cartoons he drew for his high school newspaper in 1973-74. The drawings are posted at DailyCartoonist.com for February 17. It’s a comfort to see this juvenilia: they reveal that, like almost all artists in their raw youth, he drew pretty badly before he got really good.

 

 

LAST DITCH OFFENSIVE

In South Carolina in mid-February, the House Ways and Means committee voted 13-10 to cut the College of Charleston’s budget by $52,000, the amount the school spent last summer on The College Reads!, an annual campus-wide initiative designed to promote discussion of “challenging” books among faculty, staff and students. Kevin Melrose at robot6.comicbook resources.com reported that problem was the choice of Alison Bechdel’s gay-themed graphic novel Fun Home, which “drew fire in July from a conservative Christian group that labeled the graphic novel ‘pornographic.’”

            At the same time, lawmakers cut $17,000 from the budget of the University of South Carolina Upstate for assigning "Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio” which is about South Carolina’s first gay and lesbian radio show.

            The legislative drive, reported Carolyn Kellogg at latimes.com, was led by State Representative Garry Smith, a Greenville Republicon who sits on the House’s higher education budget committee that approved the cuts, who “pushed punishing the College of Charleston and USC Upstate for their book choices."

            Said Smith: “One of the things I learned over the years is that if you want to make a point, you have to make it hurt. I understand academic freedom, but this is not academic freedom .... This was about promoting one side with no academic debate involved.”

            As I gather from the purported purpose of the program at Charleston, the whole idea was to foster discussion and, yes, debate. But Smith and his ilk, looking at the world through the isinglass in their navels, can’t see that. Of course.**

            College of Charleston professor Christopher Korey, who leads the college's First-Year Experience, which oversees the summer reading program that included Bechdel's book, said: "The [school] committee recognized the book might be controversial for a few readers, but the book asks important questions about family, identity, and the transition to adulthood. These are important questions for all college students."

            Important to confront and discuss—and debate.

            Smith told the Post and Courier that Bechdel's book "goes beyond the pale of academic debate," because "[i]t graphically shows lesbian acts," adding (of course) that the college was "promoting the gay and lesbian lifestyle."

            As attitudes across the nation change in support of such things as same-sex marriage, people like Smith are increasingly fighting a rear-guard action in retreat away from an inevitable defeat. Desperate to avoid facing the inevitable, they pick on whoever seems vulnerable.

            In a statement released by her publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Bechdel said: "I'm very grateful to the people who taught my book at the College of Charleston. It was brave of them to do that given the conservative pressures they're apparently under."

            She continued, "I made a visit to the school last fall for which they also took some flak, but to their great credit they didn't back down. It's sad and absurd that the College of Charleston is facing a funding cut for teaching my book—a book which is after all about the toll that this sort of small-mindedness takes on people's lives."

            The funding cuts approved by the budget committee will go to the House floor for debate on March 11.

 

**Looking at the world through the isinglass in their navels is a cute way of saying their heads are so far up their collective ass that the only way they can see anything is through a window in their navel.

 

 

DOONESBURY’S HIATUS AND THE FATE DU JOUR

Poached from the redoubtable Michael Cavna’s at his ComicRiffs blog at the Washington Post: Starting February 24, Garry Trudeau put the daily releases of his Pulitzer Prize-winning Doonesbury on long-term hiatus in order to concentrate on writing his political satire live-action tv show, “Alpha House,” which recently ended its debut season with such strong viewership that Amazon Studios has picked it up a second season. Trudeau will continue to create new Sunday Doonesbury strips; the rest of the week, readers will get reruns dating back to the feature’s syndication launch in 1970. More than 13,000 potential “Flashback” strips, Universal Uclick notes, haven’t been seen in a newspaper since their initial run. And that’s a lot of inventory to pick “Flashbacks” from.

            Trudeau intends to return full-time to the strip eventually, but he admits no one can say for sure in these days of “lateral movement” by creators in the media and arts. Said he: “I’ve always thought of myself as a comic-strip lifer, which is common in our industry and an annoyance to younger cartoonists. I love working for newspapers, and can't imagine life without them. Which is why I'm keeping one foot in with the Sundays.”

            “Comic strips and episodic tv actually draw from similar skill sets,” Trudeau told Cavna.

“I’m accustomed to writing dialogue, constructing scenes and developing characters. And, of course, I think visually.”

            But “Alpha House” does present the left-leaning Trudeau with a challenge: his protagonists are a quartet of conservative senators (played by John Goodman, Clark Johnson, Matt Malloy and Mark Consuelos) who room together while in Washington, and Trudeau is on more familiar ground depicting the four as they fend off Tea Party challengers, ethics probes and blasts in Afghanistan.

            Cavna asked the cartoonist whether it was difficult to leave one of his creations behind in order to tend to the other. ... For Trudeau’s Answer, and for All the Rest of Opus 322—including the First Watterson Cartoon in 18 Years, plus Reviews of Mike du Jour and Other Mike Lester Works, a Dozen Books (Including Some Graphic Novels and Reprints of George Wunder’s Terry and V.T. Hamlin’s Alley Oop as the Caveman Begins Traveling in Time) and a Scabrous Essay on the Sins Being Committed in the Name of “Graphic Novel” and Jonah Hex’s History as a Stuffed Bounty Hunter—and more, much moreYou Must Hie Thee Thither to the $ubscriber/Associate Section, Where You’ll Get More of Our News Reports and Penetrating Analysis. To Get There, Click Here.  And If You're Not a $ubscriber/Associate—

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